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By Francois Recanati

Francois Recanati provides his concept of psychological documents, a brand new manner of knowing reference in language and inspiration. He goals to recast the "nondescriptivist" method of reference that has ruled the philosophy of language and brain within the past due 20th century. based on Recanati, we refer via psychological records, which play the function of so-called "modes of presentation." The reference of linguistic expressions is inherited from that of the documents we go together with them. The reference of a dossier is set relationally, now not satisfactionally: so a dossier isn't really to be equated to the physique of (mis)information it includes. documents are like singular phrases within the language of idea, with a nondescriptivist semantics.

In distinction to different philosophers, Recanati bargains an indexical version in line with which records are typed by way of their functionality, that's to shop details derived via specific sorts of relation to things within the atmosphere. the kind of the dossier corresponds to the kind of contextual relation it exploits. Even indifferent records or "encyclopedia entries" are in accordance with epistemically worthwhile kinfolk to their referent, on Recanati's account.

Among the subjects mentioned during this wide-ranging booklet are: acquaintance relatives and singular inspiration; cognitive value; the vehicle/content contrast; the character of indexical recommendations; co-reference de jure and judgments of id; cognitive dynamics; recognitional and perceptual suggestions; stressed proposal and the transparency requirement on modes of presentation; descriptive names and "acquaintanceless" singular suggestion; the communique of indexical suggestions; two-dimensional defences of Descriptivism; the Generality Constraint; perspective ascriptions and the "vicarious" use of psychological records; first-person pondering; token-reflexivity in language and suggestion.

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Extra resources for Mental Files

Example text

I may be perceptually related (through distinct sense modalities, say) to what I take to be two objects, which happen to be one and the same object. 1 But this supposes, on the part of the subject, reflective abilities the exercise of which does not seem to be required to suffer from identity confusions of the type which Frege cases illustrate. The subject need not reflect on her perceptual relation to objects in order to have thoughts about the objects she perceives; nor does she have to reflect on her perceptual relation to objects to be in a position to think of the object in different ways, corresponding to the various ways in which she perceives it.

Personal pronouns (‘I’, ‘you’), temporal and spatial adverbs (‘here’, ‘now’), etc. There is no doubt that indexicals present their referent in quite specific ways, but indexical modes of presentation are essentially perspectival and cannot be captured by means of objective, non-indexical descriptions. As Castañeda and (following him) Perry forcefully pointed out, for any indexical α and non-indexical description ‘the F ’, it is always possible for the subject to doubt, or to wonder, whether α is the F (Castañeda 1999, Perry 1993).

The reference is the entity we are acquainted with (in the appropriate way), not the entity which best ‘fits’ information in the file. The characteristic feature of the relations on which mental files are based, and which determine their reference, is that they are epistemically rewarding (hence my name for them: ER relations). They enable the subject to gain information from the objects to which he stands in these relations. In all the cases mentioned above as objecting to Frege’s descriptivist approach, ER relations are involved.

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